Solar energy implies energy generated through the sun. The United States has conducted several types of research in respect of solar energy, and it remains one of the leading countries utilizing solar energy, with some of the largest utility-scale installed in some parts of the country. For instance, the oldest solar power plant was established in California and had a capacity of 354 megawatts
In the United States, solar energy is generated through solar power plants and is converted into electricity through the rooftop photovoltaic or heat through solar thermal. Solar energy was used to generate about 2% of total electricity in the United States, and the year 2020 recorded massive development with the totality of 97,275 megawatts of photovoltaic installed.
Though this form of energy is mainly considered expensive, it is also considered more beneficial and can be used to generate more power. There is also the participation of private companies, which makes power generated from this source readily available.
Though solar energy comes with a lot of advantages, it also comes with several disadvantages, which are discussed below:
Advantages of Solar Energy
- It is a source of renewable energy
Solar energy is renewable; hence, we cannot run out of it. Power is generated through the sun, which is available in every country and can be generated quickly. Another benefit of this energy source is that it does not require an extremely scorching sun for longer hours to power the system. An hour of the sun may be enough to power an entire house, which means it can even be advantageous during the rainy or snowy season.
Scientifically, sunlight will be available for about 5 billion years. Following this fact, solar energy will be available for the same number of years. Hence, it will remain one of the best sources of power in the world.
- Solar energy is useful for other purposes
Solar energy can be used for several things. Aside from generating electricity, it can also be used to generate heat. This source of energy can also be built in building materials. Furthermore, it is also helpful for water distillation
- Low electricity bill
Solar energy as a source of electricity supply will reduce the amount you pay for electricity annually. Solar system is available for sale through private companies, making it readily available for every home.
By placing certain home appliances on this solar system, you can drastically reduce the amount of electricity you regularly use, which will naturally reduce the amount you are expected to pay.
The capacity of your solar system will depend entirely on the type and size of the system you purchased. Hence, careful consideration for those with high capacity will save you a lot of money.
Even better, if your solar system can generate more electricity than you use and the energy is exported back to the grid, you may be qualified for payment for the surplus energy by the Smart Export Guarantee.
- Low Maintenance Costs
The cost of maintaining a solar system is very low compared to other sources of energy. For example, even though you need to keep your system outside, it can stay functional under the rain. Also, unlike wind turbines that require extra operational cost, there is no operating cost regarding solar systems.
To enjoy your system well, you are only required to keep it clean a few times a year, and you can even pay cheaply to get it cleaned by professional companies.
Adding to that, you do not need to move your system around after installation, and there is no moving part that may require replacement of any kind. However, you may be required to change the inverter once in 8 years and are also expected to maintain the cable properly to enjoy maximum electricity.
Disadvantages of Solar Energy
- Solar energy is expensive
Solar energy is considered very effective because of the initial price for purchase despite its high availability in the market. There is a lot of money to pay, including buying the solar inverter, the writing, solar batteries and paying for installation. While price reduction is expected in the future, it is possible to experience an increment in price due to constant development in the sector.
- Storage for excess energy is expensive
Excess energy generated during the day can be stored in batteries off-the-grid for subsequent usage, probably in the night or very early in the morning. However, this battery is just as expensive as the inverter, which makes storing energy more difficult. Since storage is impossible without the battery, it makes using solar energy during the night is impossible for those whose system is not connected to the grid.
- Causes air pollution
Though generating power through a solar system doesn’t cause carbon emission, transportation and installation of the system have been associated with the emission of gases that can pollute the air and are therefore dangerous for society. However, the level of pollution occasioned by solar energy is essentially low compared to the greenhouse gases emitted during the exploration and processing of oil and gas.
Solar energy is no doubt another impressive source of renewable energy and has been exploited by several countries. Constant development in quantum physics even created more chances of development; hence, there is a possibility of many potentials yet to be discovered by scientists. Although the advantages of solar energy outweigh the disadvantages one major problem for a lot of solar electricity buyers is the price. The high cost makes it unaffordable for families with lower income. Though this system is made available with an installment payment system, that does not still eliminate the fact that it is a burden on some people who may not meet the high payment even after purchase. Therefore, it is recommended that further price reductions need to be achieved to enhance usage further.